News at a glance

11th January 2013 at 00:00

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Blackpool fights pupil hunger with free breakfasts

Blackpool Council is to offer free breakfasts to all its primary children for the next three months. The #163;700,000 projects aims to offer 12,000 pupils a free breakfast, but the council is hoping to find sponsorship to enable the scheme to be extended. In a separate scheme, London mayor Boris Johnson and charity Magic Breakfast have set up a three-year free breakfast scheme for 5,000 children in 50 schools across the capital. The move comes after a London Assembly report found that more than 95 per cent of London teachers say some pupils start the day without breakfast.

Battle of the books in Blue Peter awards

Some of the biggest names in children's literature have been shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2013. Michael Rosen's biography of Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr Dahl, has been shortlisted in the non-fiction section, along with Michaela Morgan's book Respect! about black British soldier and footballer Walter Tull. The Boy who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond, Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes and Tom Gates: Genius Ideas (Mostly) by Liz Pichon have been shortlisted in the fiction category. The shortlist will now be judged by more than 200 young Blue Peter viewers drawn from 10 schools across the UK. The winners will be announced on 7 March to coincide with World Book Day.

Keep black figures in curriculum, open letter urges

The stories of two well-known black figures in British history should not be dropped from the compulsory curriculum to make way for more mainstream figures, campaigners have said. US civil rights campaigner Jesse Jackson, and dozens of writers and academics, signed a letter to The Times newspaper this week calling for Mary Seacole, who nursed British soldiers during the Crimean War, and anti-slavery campaigner Olaudah Equiano to be included in the new slimmed-down curriculum. Recent reports have also claimed that the government plans to drop social campaigners Robert Owen and Elizabeth Fry in favour of bigger names such as Oliver Cromwell and Lord Nelson.

New verse in government's poetry by heart initiative

A new government-approved anthology of poems has been published to support its competition judging pupils' ability to recite poetry from memory. Poems by John Donne, Lord Byron and Sylvia Plath are among those included in Poetry by Heart, which has been released for the contest that will challenge 14- to 18-year-olds to memorise and perform poems. More than 250 schools have signed up for the competition, which takes place in the spring. The anthology contains 130 poems selected by poets Sir Andrew Motion and Jean Sprackland.

McDonald's announces supersized literacy scheme

Fast-food chain McDonald's is hoping to lure more families to its restaurants by handing out books with its Happy Meals for five weeks. As part of a longer-running scheme, it will also offer parents the chance to buy books for #163;1. McDonald's will work with organisations and retailers such as the National Literacy Trust and WHSmith to achieve its goal of distributing 15 million books in the UK by the end of 2014.

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